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The Arthur and Elizabeth 

SCHLESINGER LIBRARY 

on the History of Women 

in America 

RADCLIFFE INSTITUTE 



Jc*in R- & Sarah C. Briggs Fund 



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THE HOUSE BEAUTIFUL 



THE 

HOUSE BEAUTirUL 



BY 



WILLIAM C. GANNETT 




JAMES H. WEST CO., PUB- 
LISHERS, BOSTON, MASS. . 






4> 







V 




COPTBIOHT, 189S, 

By JAMES H. WEST. 



<^^'5t) 



CONTENTS 



PAGE 

The Bxhlding op the House, ... 9 

house-fubnishino, 18 

The Ideal op Beauty, 24 

Flower Furniture, 33 

Book Furniture, 36 

Our Guests, 40 

The dear "Togetherness," ... 44 



Ube Douse JBeautituL 



T^HERE is a Bible verse that reads, 
"A building of God, a house not 
made with hands." Paul meant ' the 
spiritual body in which, he says, the 
soul will live hereafter. But how 
well the words describe the Home, — 
a home right here on earth! 

"Except tf|f Hort huiin tfti 
ijaust"—- 

In a sense worth noting the very 
house itself, the mere shell of the 



N' 



10 THE HOUSE BEAUTIFUL. 

home, is that — "a building of God, 
not made with hands." Watch two 
birds foraging to build their nest. 
They preempt a crook in a bough or 
a hole in the wall, some tiny niche 
or other in the big world, and, sing- 
ing to each other that this is their 
tree-bough, their hole, they bring a 
twig from here, a wisp of hay from 
there, a tuft of soft moss, the tangle 
of string which the school-boy dropped, 
the hair that the old horse nibbed off 
on the pasture-bars, and weave and 
mould their findings into a cosy bowl 
to hold their little ones. Man and 
woman are but larger birds, borrowing 
more of the world-material to make 



THE HOUSE BEAUTIFUL. 11 

a bigger bowl a little cosier. From a 
fellow-mortal they buy a lot or a farm 
instead of a tree-bough; they fence it 
in and call it theirs, as if they owned 
the acres through to China, — and put 
a mortgage on it, notwithstanding, be- 
cause it is too large to pay for. Then 
they build four walls with a lid, to 
box in a little of the blowing wind; 
screw on this box a door-plate and 
insurance-sign; divide it inside into 
chambered cells; line these cells with 
paper and carpets instead of moss 
and horse-hair; and proceed to fill 
their pretty box of cells with decora- 
tions and conveniences. This is their 
"home." "See what my hands have 



12 THE HOUSE BEAUTIiTUL. 

built!" says the man. Bit if we 
look with eyes that do see, what we 
see is this; — that all he calls his 
handiwork is nothing but the bird's 
work; first, a foraging on Nature 
for material, then a re-arranging, re- 
combining of the plunder. 

For consider the house, how it grows ! 
The first thing we do is to dig a hole 
in the planet, — a socket to hold the 
house down firm. That is taking 
liberties with Nature to begin with, 
as we only make the hole, she room 
for the hole, — the more momentous 
matter. Then the cellar-walls, — do we 
make them? We quarry the stone, 
drag it out, chip it square, lay it in 



THE HOUSE BEAUTIFUL. 13 

the mortar-beds; but the stone was 
laid in the quarry for us atom by 
atom, crystal by crystal, ages before 
the first man trod the earth. A bit 
of pavement from Pompeii, a fragment 
from the pyramids, is prized because 
man's touch was on it two thousand 
or thrice two thousand years ago; but 
each pebble in the chinks of the cellar- 
wall beneath us holds thousands of 
thousands of years locked up in it, 
since first the ancient oceans sifted 
it and inner earth-fires baked it and 
thickening continents began to squeeze 
it into rock. 

Then over these foundations we lay 
0ie sills and raise the frame. But who 



14 THE HOUSE BEAUTIFUL. 

made the timber in the joist, vrho 
made the clapboards and the shingles 
on the roof? Men hewea and sawed 
and split, — the great mi'ls ^ith their 
iron claws and iron teeth are wonders 
of human skill; but what hands took 
sunshine and the rain and a pine-cone 
a hundred years ago in a wild forest, 
and with winter storms and spring 
freshenings and long summer shinings 
built up the countless cells and fibres 
into the great green tree, that waited 
on the hill-side till the axe-man came ? 
And thus we might consider each 
and everything about our house, the 
iron in the nail, the wool in th^ 
carpet, the glass \in the wiftdgw, the 






<: 



THE HOUSE BEAUTIFUL. 15 

paint on the door, the hair in the 
easy chair, and trace all back by no 
long road to builders who build not 
by hand. We are proud of our nine- 
teenth century mansion; but if we 
use the very latest improvements and 
most artificial, — make its outer walls 
of machine-pressed stone; for inner 
walls buy fibrous slabs instead of laths 
and mortar; iron-rib it through and 
through in place of floor-beams; fire- 
proof its floors with iron-netting and 
plaster ; warm it by steam from boilers 
two miles away down town; light it 
with electricity; tune it by reverber- 
ating telephones with music played in 
a distant capital; dine in it, as to-day 



16 THE HOUSE BEAUTIFUL. 

the city-dwellers may, on fresh fish 
from the gulf of the St. Lawrence, 
fresh beef from Montana, fresh pears 
from California — still, what are we 
doing but coaxing a little more of 
world-material from Mother Nature 
than the forefathers had learnt the 
art of coaxing from her when they 
were furnishing their plain log huts ? 
Foraging on Nature like the birds, 
and re-arranging the plunder, — that is 
all there is of it. 

"I heard a voice out of heaven," 
says another Bible verse, — "a great 
voice out of heaven, * Behold, the 
tabernacle of God is with men, and 
he will dwell with them, and they 



THE HOUSE BEAUTIFUL. 17 

shall be his people.'" Call the great 
Power "God," or by what name we 
will, that Power dwells with us in so 
literal a fashion that every stone and 
rafter, every table, spoon and paper 
scrap, bears stamp and signature to 
eyes that read aright: "The house in 
which we live is a building of God, 
a house not made with hands." 



»fe^ 



18 THE HOUSE BEAUTIFUL. 



Tn this immanence of miracle, this 
domestication of the infinite, we 
have not gone beyond the bare house 
yet. But how much more than house 
is Home! Cellar and walls and roof, 
chairs and tables and spoons, — these 
are the mere shell of the Home. 
These, to be sure, are what the young 
couple talk much about when waiting 
for the wedding, and this is what the 
architects and carpenters and house- 
furnishing stores are for. And under 
city slates and country shingles alike, 
one sometimes finds unfortunates to 



THE HOUSE BEAUTIFUL. 19 

whom this mere outside, these solid 
things about the rooms, seem to be 
mainly what they think of when they 
think of the rooms; unfortunates to 
whom the show of their furniture is 
of more importance than its use; men 
more interested in the turkey on the 
table than in the people who sit around 
the turkey; women who think more of 
the new carpet than the blessing of 
the old sunshine; men and women, 
both, who bear witness that they love 
their neighbors better than themselves 
by keeping best things for the neigh- 
bors' eyes and the worst things for 
their own, and who almost gauge their 
social standing by the fine clothes 



20 THE HOUSE BEAUTIFUL. 

they can put on for street or church, 
or by the " dead perfection " of their ; 
front parlor. Perhaps the good wife, 
looking around a slovenly, t^nhome-like 
living-room, feels a flush of self-respect 
at the thought of that cold front 
parlor, where the chairs sit as straight 
as the pictures ought to, and the 
tapestries and crockeries are each in 
the due place. When calling at a rich 
man's home and waiting for Madame 
to appear, sometimes a silent wonder 
rises, "Do the people correspond to all 
this gilt and varnish and upholstery ? " 
And in a humbler house, when shown 
into one of those polar parlors, a kind 
of homesickness comes over one for 



THE HOUSE BEAUTIFUL. 21 

some hack parlor^ some kitchen, a bed- 
room, any place where the people really 
live. The heart cries, " Take me where 
the people stay; I didn't come to see 
the chairs." A second thought is apt 
to follow, — how much more pleasant, 
tasteful, home-like every other room 
in the house would probably become, 
if the expense hidden in this one room 
were but distributed, there in a prettier 
paper, there in a quieter carpet, there 
in a noble picture, and all about in 
a dozen little graces and conveniences, 
— if these were added there, where all 
the time they would be enjoyed by 
the owners and the users. On the 
other hand, one is sometimes shown 



22 THE HOUSE BEAUTIFUL. 

into a room, on entering which he 
feels like bowing to its emptiness in 
gratitude, because it offers, even bare 
of the people who evidently do live 
in it, a festival so cosy to the eyes. 
Everywhere are uses in forms of 
beauty. Uses in forms of beatUy, — 
that is the secret of a festival for 
eyes. In such cases it is quite in 
order to sing our little psalm praising 
the good looks of the room and the 
things in it that make it pleasant 
That is what they are for, — to please; 
in part, to please us, the chance-comers; 
but not us first, and the home-folk 
last, — the home-folk first, and us out- 
siders last. Petition to see a friend's 



THE HOUSE BEAUTIFUL. 23 

own room before feeling that you really 
know that friend. It is a better test 
than a bureau-drawer ! Not the room 
after a quick run up-stairs for two 
minutes first, but the room just as 
it is. For a room as it is usually 
kept is index of one's taste, of one's 
culture, and of a good deal of one's 
character. 



^ 



24 THE HOUSE BEAUTIFUL. 



Cfye m^tal of iSrauts* 

T AM not objecting one whit to grace 
in the household furnishings, nor 
to expense laid out to get the grace. 
On the contrary, there is nothing 
beyond bare necessities on which 
expense may be so well laid out. 
As the elementary thing that shows 
one's house is not merely a hand- 
made house, I would name Taste; the 
taste that shows itself in pictures, in 
flowers, in music, in the choice of 
colors for the walls and the floors, in 
the amenities of the mantel-piece and 
table, in the grouping of the furniture, 



THE HOUSE BEAUTIFUL. 25 

in the droop of the curtains at the 
windows, in the way in which the 
dishes glorify the table, in which the 
dresses sit on the mother and the 
girls. And it is the morning dress 
and the Monday table that tells the 
story. Where can you buy good taste ? 
That cannot be manu-factured. Like 
Solomon's "wisdom," it cannot be 
gotten for gold, nor silver be paid 
for the price thereof; but in house- 
furnishing it is more precious than 
fine rubies. It is the one thing that 
no store in New York or Chicago sells, 
nor can rich relatives leave you any 
of it in their wills. And yet it 
comes largely by bequest. Nearly all 



26 THE HOUSE BEAUTIFUL. 

one can tell about its origin is that it 
/ gathers slowly in the family blood, and 

refines month by month, as children 
watch the parents' ways and absorb 
into themselves the grace that is about 
the rooms. 

But what a difference it makes to 
those children by and by! What a 
difference it makes in the feeling of 
the home, if things graceful to the 
eye and ear are added to the things 
convenient for the flesh and bones! 
Our eyes and ears are parts of us; 
if less important than the heart and 
mind, still are parts of us, and a 
home should be home for all our 
parts. Eyes and ears are eager to be 



THE HOUSE BEAUTIFUL. 27 

fed with harmonies in color and form 
and sound; these are their natural 
food as much as bread and meat are 
food for other parts. And in pro- 
portion as the eyes and ears are fed, 
we are not sure, but apt, to see a fine- 
ness spreading over life. Where eyes 
and ears are starved, we are not sure, 
but apt, to find a roughness spreading. 
A song at even-time before the little 
ones say Good-night; the habit of to- 
gether saying a Good-morning grace to 
God, perhaps a silent grace, among the 
other greetings of a happy breakfast- 
table; a picture in that bare niche 
of the wall; a vase of flowers on 
the mantel-piece; well matched colors 



28 THE HOUSE BEAUTIFUL. 

under foot; a nestling collar, not that 
stiff band; around the neck; brushed 
boots, if boots it must be, when the 
family are all together; the teartable 
tastefully, however simply, set, instead 
of dishes in a huddle, — these all are 
little things ; you would hardly notice 
them as single things; you would not 
call them "religion," they are not 
"morals," they scarcely even class 
under the head of "manners." Men 
and women can be good parents and 
valuable citizens without them. And 
yet, and yet, one cannot forget that, 
as the years run on, these trifles of 
the home will make no little of the 
difference between coarse grain and 



THE HOUSE BEAUTIFUL. 29 

fine grain in us and in our children, 
when they grow up. 

Besides^ this taste for grace is 
nothing hard to gratify in these days. 
It is much harder to get the good 
taste than the means by which to 
gratify it. Not splendor, but harmony, 
is grace; not many things, but pict- 
ui'esque things. The ideals of beauty 
are found in simple, restful things 
far oftener than in ornate things. Of 
two given forms for the same article — 
a chair, a table, a dress — the form 
that is least ornate is commonly the 
more useful, and this more useful form 
will commonly by artist eyes be found 
the handsomer. A man in his working- 



30 THE HOUSE BEAUTIFUL. 

clothes is usually more picturesque 
than that same man in his Sunday 
clothes ; the living-room more pict- 
uresque than the parlor. "Avoid the 
superfluous," is a recipe that of itself 
would clear our rooms of much un- 
handsome handsomeness. Scratch out 
the verys from your talk, from your 
writing, from your house-furnishing. 
A certain sentence, only eight words 
long, did me great good as a young 
man. I met it in Grimm's Life of 
Michael Angelo : " The ideal of beauty 
is simplicity and repose." The ideal 
of beauty is simplicity and repose : it 
applies to everything, — to wall-papers 
and curtains and carpets and table- 



THE HOUSE BEAUTIFUL. 31 

cloths, to dress, to manners, to talk, 
to sermons, to style in writing, to 
faces, to character. The ideal of 
beauty is simpUcity and repose,- not 
flash, not sensation, not show, not 
exaggeration, not bustle. And because 
simple, beautiful things are not neces- 
sarily costly, it needs no mint of 
money to have really choice pictures 
on one's wall, now that photography 
has been invented, and the sun 
shines to copy BaphaePs Madonna and 
Millet's peasants and William Hunt's 
boys and maidens for us, or the 
sculpture of an Alpine valley and a 
cathedral front. A very little outlay, 
the dinners cheapened for a month, 



32 THE HOnS£ BEAUTIFUL. 

will make the bare dining-room so 
beautiful that plain dinners ever after- 
wards taste better in it; it really is 
economy and saves a course. 



=^ 



THE HOUSE BEAUTIFUL. 33 



Jlolvrt ^tttnttttte. 

A ND without any money at all, what 
grace the fields and gardens offer 
us, if only we have eyes to see it, 
hearts to love it, hands to carry it 
home ! I knew a woman, among 
friends counted poor, whose room was 
a place to go around and praise and 
be thankful and delighted for, so 
much did she have of this faculty of 
transferring nature to the inside of a 
house. Mosses and ferns and dried 
autumn-leaves were her chief materials; 
but the eyes and the hands and the 
taste were added in^ and rich men 



34 THE HOUSE BEAUTIFUL. 

could not buy her result. To be a 
growing flower anywhere is to be 
beautiful. "Consider the lilies/' said 
the young Hebrew prophet ; and when 
we do consider them, we want some 
of them nearer than the field. The 
Arabs put into Mahomet's, their 
prophet's, lips the saying: "If a 
man find himself with bread in both 
hands, he should exchange one loaf 
for some flowers of the narcissus, 
since the loaf feeds the body indeed, 
but the flowers feed the soul." Flowers 
have no speech nor language, but they 
are living creatures, and, when trans- 
planted from their own home-haunts 
to ours, they claim the captive's due 



THB HOUSE BEAUTIFUL. 35 

of tenderness, and they will reward 
love, like a child, with answering 
loveliness. In their religious rhyming 
to the woods and fields outside, the 
seasons faithfully remembered in cap- 
tivity, their wondrous resurrections, 
their mystic chemistry that in our 
corner bed-rooms carries on Creation, 
constructing green leaf and glowing 
petal and strange incense out of earth 
and water and the window sunlight, 
the little exiles of the flower-pot bear 
mute witness that the house wherein 
they live is "a building of God, a 
house not made with hands.'' 



S6 THB HOUSB BBAUTIFUL. 



ISooft /unttture. 

W" ""* "^ ' ""'' **""* *"' 

other things, seldom thought of 
as house-furnishings. One of them is 
our Books. Think what a "book" 
means. It means meeting a dime-, 
noyel hero, if we like that kind of 
hero. But it also means meeting the 
poets, the thinkers, the great men, 
the genuine heroes, if we like that 
kind. It means admission to the 
new marvels of science, if one choose 
admission. It means an introduction 
to the noblest company that all the 
generations have generated, if we claim 



THE HOUSE BEAUTIFUL. 37 

the introduction. Remembering this, 
how can one help wishing to furnish 
his house with some such furniture? 
A poet for a table-piece! A philoso- 
pher upon the shelf! Tyndall and 
Darwin, in their works, for members 
of the household! Browning or Em- 
erson for a fireside friend! Irving 
or Dickens or George Eliot to make 
us laugh and cry and grow tender 
to queer folk and forlorn! Or some 
of the good newspapers, — not those 
that, on the plea of giving "news," 
parade details of the divorces and 
the murders gleaned from Maine to 
Florida, details of the brute game of 
the prize-fighter and the shames of 



38 THE HOUSE BEAUTIFUL. 

low city life, — not this red, rank meat 
to hang around one's mind, as if it 
were a butcher's shop ; but newspapers 
that tell how the great world is mov- 
ing on in politics and business and 
thought and knowledge and humanity. 
To subscribe for one of these last is 
truest house-furnishing. A family's 
rank in thought and taste can be well 
gauged by the books and papers that 
lie upon the shelf or table in the 
living-room. There are three or four 
books which a man owes to his family 
as much as he owes them dinner or 
clothes, — a good newspaper (that is, 
one new book daily), a good die- 
tionary, a good atlas, and, if he can 



THE HOUSE BEAUTIFUL. 39 

possibly afford it, a good cyclopaedia. 
A boy asked his mother a difficult 
question and got the answer, "I don't 
know." "Well," said he, "I think 
mothers ought to know. They ought 
to be well educated, or else have an 
encyclopaedia." That boy was right. 
And if we own no more than these 
four books just named, they are four 
presences to day and night remind us 
that their house and ours is a house 
not wholly "made with hands." 



^n^ 



40 THE HOUSE BEAUTIFUL. 



®ttr €rurst8. 

A NOTHEK thing which passes manu- 
facture is our Guests. They are 
surely as important a part of the 
household furniture as the chairs we 
buy for them to sit on. A house that 
merely holds its inmates^ and to the 
rest of the town is a barred place, 
good, like a prison, to keep out of, 
can hardly be a "home" to those who 
live in it. It must be pleasant to a 
woman to know the children like to 
look up at her windows as they run 
to school, hoping for her smile; it 
must be a pleasure to a man to know 



* THB HOUSE BEAUTIFUL. 41 

the neighbors look forward to an 
evening around his fireside or a chat 
and laugh over his tea-table. The 
truest hospitality is shown not in the 
effort to entertain^ but in the depth 
of welcome. What a guest loves to 
come, and come again, for is not the 
meal, but those who sit at the meal. 
If we remembered this, more homes 
would be habitually thrown open to 
win the benedictions upon hospitality. 
It is our ceremony, not our poverty, 
it is self-consciousness oftener than 
inability to be agreeable, that makes 
us willing to live cloistered. Seldom 
is it that the pleasantest homes to 
visit are the richest. The real com- 



42 THE HOUSE BEAUTIFUL. 

pliment is not to apologize for the 
simple fare. That means trust, and 
trust is better than fried oysters. One 
of my dearest haunts used to be a 
home where we had bread and butter 
for the fare, and the guest helped to 
toast the bread and wipe the dishes; 
but the welcome and the children and 
the wit and the songs, and the quiet 
talk after the children went to bed, 
made it a rare privilege to be admitted 
there. If the dinner be a loaf of 
bread and a pitcher of water, invite 
your friend rather than incur that 
opposite reputation, that it is ^'a kind 
of burglary to ring your door-bell be- 
fore dinner." Count guests who are 



THE HOUSE BEAUTIFUL. 43 

always glad to come and always make 
you glad they come, as best pieces 
in your household furnishing; and 
those who are glad to come, without 
the power of making us so glad,— 
count some of these as. reasons why 
the house was built. 






44 THE HOUSE BEAUTIFUL. 



tS^t tint " t!rofietijertte»»." 

A ND still one thing remains to fur- 
nish the House Beautiful, — the 
most important thing of all, without 
which guests and books and flowers 
and pictures and harmonies of color 
only emphasize the fact that the house 
is not a home. I mean the warm 
light in the rooms that comes from 
kind eyes, from quick unconscious 
smiles, from gentleness in tones, from 
little unpremeditated caresses of man- 
ner, from habits of fore-thoughtfulness 
for one another, — all that happy 
illumination which, on the inside of 



THE HOUSE BEAUTIFUL. 45 

a house; corresponds to morning sun- 
light outside falling on quiet dewy 
fields. It is an atmosphere really 
generated of many self-controls^ of 
much forbearance, of training in self- 
sacrifice; but by the time it reaches 
instinctive expression these stem gen- 
erators of it are hidden in the 
radiance resulting. It is like a con- 
stant love-song without words, whose 
meaning is, "We are glad that we 
are alive together" It is a low per- 
vading music, felt, not heard, which 
begins each day with the Good-morning, 
and only ends in the dream-drowse 
beyond Good-night. It is cheer; it is 
peace; it is trust; it is delight; it 



46 THB HOUSE BEAUTIFUL. 

is all these for^ and all these in, 
each other. It knows no moods — 
this warm love-light,— but is an even 
cheer, an even trust. The little fes- 
tivals of love are kept, but, after 
all, the best days are the every-days 
because they are the every-days of 
love. The variant dispositions in the 
members of the home, the elements 
of personality to be "allowed for," 
add stimulus and exhilaration to this 
atmosphere. Shared memories make 
part of it, shared hopes and fears, 
shared sorrows; shared self-denials 
make a very dear part of it. 

Thus is it at its happy best; but 
even when the home-love is not at its 



THE HOUSE BEAUTIFUL. 47 

best, when moods at times prevail, 
and eold looks make a distance in 
the eyes, and some one grows recluse 
and selfish to the rest, even then the 
average and wont of love may keep 
the home not wholly undeserving of 
its coronation name, " a building of 
God, a house not made with hands." 
Certainly love is the force by which, 
and home the place in which, God 
chiefly fashions souls to their fine 
issues. Is our mere body fearfully 
and wonderfully made ? A greater 
marvel is the human mind and heart 
and conscience. To make these, homes 
spring up the wide world over. In 
them strength fits itself to weakness. 



48 THE HOUSE BEAUTIFUL. 

experience fits itself to ignorance, pro- 
tection fits itself to need. They are 
life-schools in which the powers of 
an individual are successively awaked 
and trained as, year by year, he passes 
on through the differing relations of 
child, youth, parent, elder, in the circle. 
From the child's relations to the others 
come obedience, reverence, trust, — the 
roots of upward growth. Youth's 
new relations bring self-control and 
self-reliance, justice, and the dawns 
of duty owed one's world. Later, 
when little ones in turn demand our 
care, mother-providence and father- 
providence emerge in us, and energies 
of self-forgetting, and the full response 



THE HOUSE BEAUTIFUL. 49 

of human nature to the great appeal 
to be good for love's sake. Lastly, 
old age with its second leisure and de- 
pendence brings moderation, patience, 
peace, and a sense of wide horizons 
opening. And, all the process through, 
love is the shaping force, and home- 
relations are the well-springs of the 
love. 

If this may be called the story 
of soul-making for us all, of none 
is it so mystically, beautifully true 
a story as of the blessed "twos." 
Mystically true of them, because 
the love of twos begins in miracle, 
and the miracle never wholly dies 
away even wh^u th« days of Golden 



50 THE HOUSE BEAUTIFUL. 

Wedding near. A mystery like that 
of birth and that of death is the 
mystery of two young spirits all 
unconsciously through distant ways 
approaching, each fated at some turn, 
some instant, to find and recognize 
the other. Follows, then, the second 
and continuing mystery of the two 
becoming very one. And beautifully 
true of them, — as all beholders know: 
"all men love a lover." Poetry and 
song, and novel and drama^ and 
gossip, older than them all, attest 
the fascination. But to the two 
themselves how passing beautiful the 
story is ! It is not merely that 
all Nature glows and old familiar 



THE HOUSE BEAUTIFUL. 51 

things take on new lights and mean- 
ings; nor merely that in the new 
light the dearest old ties dim by 
some divine eclipse, 



i( 



As o^er the hills and far away 
Beyond their utmost purple rim, 

Beyond the night, beyond the day, 
The happy princess follows him." 



Not merely this : a higher beauty comes 
in the changes so swiftly wrought by 
love within each soul, — the enlarge- 
ment of powers, the enhancement of 
attractiveness, the virtues greatened, 
the meanness abated, and that un- 
selfing of each one for the other's 
sake, which really makes each one t 



62 THE HOUSE BEAUTIFUL. 

stronger, nobler self. The sunrise of 
the new life breaks. The two are 
mated with the solemn questions: 
"Wilt thou love her, honor her, 
cherish and comfort her, in health 
and in sickness, in joy and in 
sorrow, so long as ye both shall 
live?" "Wilt thou take him for 
richer, for poorer, for better, for 
worse, and try to live with him 
the divinest life thou knowest?" 
Then begin the daily, hourly answers 
to these questions, — living answers so 
different from the worded "I will" 
of the moment. 

And now the home-nest, and the 
delights of it, the discoveries of it. 



THE HOUSE BEAUTIFUL. 53 

the revelations in it of still un- 
mated parts which yet must mate 
and will^ the glad endeavors of it, 
all begin. Now poems, only making 
dear a printed page a little while 
before, sing themselves out as glad 
experience : 

" Two birds within one nest ; 

Two hearts within one breast ; 

Two souls within one fair 

Firm league of love and prayer, 
Together bound for aye, together blest ; 

An ear that waits to catch 

A hand upon the latch ; 
A step that hastens its sweet rest to win ; 

A world of care without ; 

A world of strife shut out ; 

A world of love shut in I " 



54 THE HOUSE BEAUTIFUL. 

Slowly the new home grows holy 
as the deepening wedding thus goes 
on; holy, for the making of two 
souls — two yet one — is going on 
in it. Each soul is overcoming its 
own faults for love's sake, and help- 
ing by love to overcome the other's 
faults. Business, sorrows, joys, temp- 
tations, failures, victories, ideals, are 
all shared in it. By and by the 
awes of motherhood and fatherhood 
are shared, and the new co-education 
that children bring their parents is 
entered on together. The supreme 
beauty is attained when both realize 
that the inmost secret of true marriage 
is — to love the ideals better than 



THE HOUSE BEAUTIFUL. 55 

each other. For this alone guaran- 
tees the perfect purity, and there- 
fore this alone can guarantee the 
lastingness of love. Literally, lit- 
erally so! 

" I could not love thee, dear, so much, 
Loved I not honor more." 

Emerson's words are the motto for all 
marriage-chambers: "They only can 
give the key and leading to better 
society who delight in each other only 
becaitse both delight in the eternal 
laws; who forgive nothing to each 
other; who by their joy and homage 
to these are made incapable of 
conceit." And so the divine end 



56 THE HOUSE BEAUTIFUL. 

of beauty is fulfilled — tlie purifica- 
tion of souls, the ennoblement of 
personality. 

By far the best love-story that I 
know among the books is a true 
one, "The Story of William and 
Lucy Smith"; a sad, triumphant 
love-story that leads the reader far 
along the heights of life and death. 
These two had no children at their 
side; they had no wealth to buy 
them graceful things; their very 
roof they could not call their own; 
and they only lived eleven years 
together. But they lived these 
years a lofty life in all the full 
sweet meanings of together. "To- 



THE HOUSE BEAUTIFUL. 57 

gethemess'^ is the quaint word in 
which Lucy tried to sum and hint 
the happiness. 

So when I think of the House 
Beautiful, "the building of God, 
not made with hands," I think of 
them. He said to her, looking up 
into her face not long before his 
death: "I think you and I should 
have made a happy world, if we 
were the only two in it." She said of 
him, closing the little memoir that 
she wrote: "Of him every memory is 
sweet and elevating; and I record 
here that a life-long anguish, such 
as defies words, is yet not too high 
a price to pay for the privilege 



58 THE HOUSE BEAUTIFUL. 

of having loved Lim and belonged 
to him." 

I dreamed of Paradise, — and still, 
Though sun lay soft on vale and hill, 
And trees were green and rivers bright. 
The one dear thing that made delight 
By sun or stars or Kden weather. 
Was just that we two were together. 

I dreamed of Heaven, — and God so 

near ! 
The angels trod the shining sphere, 
And all were beautiful ; the days 
Were choral work, were choral praise ; 
And yet, in Heaven's far-shining 

weather, 
The best was still, — we were to- 
gether ! 



THE HOUSE BEAUTIFUL. 59 

I woke — and found my dream was 

true, 
That happy dream of me and you ! 
For Eden, Heaven, no need to roam ; 
The foretaste of it all is Homey 

Where you and I through this 

world's weather 
Still work and praise and thank 
together. 

Together weave from love a nest 
For all that's good and sweet and blest 
To brood in, till it come a face, 
A voice, a soul, a child's embrace ! 

And then what peace of Beth- 
lehem weather, 

What songs, as we go on together 1 

Together greet life's solemn real. 
Together own one glad ideal, 



60 THE HOUSE BEAUTIFUL. 

Tt^ther laugh, together ache, 

And think one thought, " each other's 

And hope one hope — in jiwo-world 

weather 
To still go on, aud go together. 



Si 



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